Saturday 24th March 2018 @ Heartlands Acadmey, Nechells
Erdington and Saltley 2 – 2 Brierley Hill and Dudley
Team: Padraig, Mason, James, Louie, Callam, Alfie, Cian L, Klechai, Che, Ethan and Tavani
Goals: Callam x 2
Man of the Match: Mason – as one of the stand out players, along with Cian, Callam and Padraig, Mason demonstrated his ability to roll up his sleeves and do his fair share of the dirty work! On a number of occasions he covered for teammates and helped protect Padraig’s goal with distinction.
Against a team bursting at the seams with academy boys, the young Ton warriors dug deep to grab a deserved share of the points after twice being behind at Heartlands.
The opening 20 minutes was not up to the standards that we set ourselves, with only two or three players actually giving it everything they had. As a team, we were slow and cumbersome and fortunate to enter the break only one goal behind. Dudley showed why they’re such a feared team, passing the ball with confidence, as well as being physical in defence.
After some harsh, but fair words, the boys began the middle-third with greater purpose and energy. Their renewed vigour was rewarded five minutes into the twenty when Callam finished off beautifully to level the score. That goal gave the team a huge boost and only bad luck prevented them from ending the third with a 3-1 lead. After earning a free kick just inside the Dudley half, captain James fired in a brilliant shot from distance, only to see it smash against the cross bar and bounce over the line (or at least we thought it did!). However it was too difficult for the ref to see, such was the pace at which it happened and the score remained 1-1. After entering the game during the first break, the dangerous and tenacious Tavani then inadvertently cleared a goal-bound shot off the Dudley line and over the bar!
Despite these moments of bad luck, the boys were more than happy with their efforts in the second twenty and began the final third full of confidence. Alas it was short lived, as Dudley retook the lead moments after the restart of the match. A moment of hesitation in the Ton defence allowed Dudley to get in behind and a team of such quality do not need asking twice! 2-1 to Dudley with 20 minutes to play.
Refusing to give up, the boys picked themselves up and attacked the Dudley goal once again. With Ethan bringing much needed energy to midfield, Callam and Cian linked up superbly, as they had done all game, allowing Callam a clear run on goal, only to see his effort brilliantly saved. Fortunately he was more lethal the next time he got in on goal and levelled with his second of the game.
Over recent weeks our performances have not returned the results our efforts merited. However yesterday we finally got some just rewards for our commitment and determination. To twice come from behind against a side battling for silverware is something to be incredibly proud of! The boys showed great character and did themselves proud!
Well done boys!
Up The Ton!